Celtics Land Former Top-5 Pick, Ship Starter to Kings in 3-Team Trade: Report

Celtics trade Tristan Thompson for Kris Dunn

Getty New Boston Celtics point guard Kris Dunn.

Tristan Thompson’s time with the Boston Celtics has reached its end.

After plenty of trade chatter surrounding the 30-year-old big man in recent months, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that the Celtics are pulling the trigger on a three-team deal that will ship Thompson to the Sacramento Kings.

In exchange, the Celtics will receive the services of guard Kris Dunn and center Bruno Fernando, as well as a 2023 second-round pick from the Atlanta Hawks. Veteran guard Delon Wright, who spent time with both the Detroit Pistons and Kings last season, heads to Atlanta.

The trade allows the Celtics to shave approximately $3 million off their books, giving them additional flexibility underneath the luxury tax, as highlighted by ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Both Dunn and Thompson are on expiring contracts, with the latter set to earn $9.7 million next season. Dunn and Fernando, on the other hand, will make about $7 million combined.

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Celtics Offseason Moves Made Thompson Expendable

Thompson, who was inked to a two-year mid-level deal last offseason, was serviceable yet mostly underwhelming during his lone season in Beantown. After averaging a double-double in back-to-back seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the former fourth-overall pick saw a dip in nearly every major statistical category in 2020-21. In 54 games with the Celtics (43 starts), Thompson averaged just 7.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Despite his diminished output, he remained one of the league’s better offensive rebounders, notching 3.4 offensive boards per contest, which ranked fifth-best in the NBA.

The writing has been on the wall for a Thompson exit from Boston ever since the organization opted to ship off point guard Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In return, the Cs acquired the services of not one, but two bigs in five-time All-Star Al Horford and 7-footer Moses Brown. Add in the ever-improving Robert Williams III, and the need for Thompson’s presence along the Celtics’ frontcourt had greatly diminished.


Overview of Boston’s Haul

Dunn, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, has failed to live up to his draft status thus far in his career. The 27-year-old appeared in just four games for the Hawks this past season due to a leg injury.

His most productive seasons to-date came in 2017 when he put up 13.4 points and 6.0 assists per game. He followed up that showing in 2018 by averaging 11.3 points and 6.0 assists per game. However, since then he’s produced just 6.9 points and 3.2 assists over his last 55 appearances.

Dunn is almost certainly not the answer at point guard for the Celtics. Having said that, if healthy, the Providence product could serve as a nice rotational piece and defensive presence in Boston’s backcourt. The Celtics will be Dunn’s fourth team of his six-year career.

As for Fernando, the soon-to-be 23-year-old gives the Celtics another body in the frontcourt. Selected No. 34 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, Fernando saw his minutes essentially cut in half this past season after averaging 12.7 minutes per game as a rookie. In 2020-21, Fernando appeared in 33 games, averaging 1.5 points and 2.4 rebounds.

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